Solar wind blows at 50-year low
The solar wind - the stream of charged particles billowing away from the Sun - is at its weakest for 50 years.
Scientists made the assessment after studying 18 years of data from the Ulysses satellite which has sampled the space environment all around our star.
They expect the reduced output to have effects right across the Solar System.
Indeed, one impact is to diminish slightly the influence the Sun has over its local environment which extends billions of kilometres into space.
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"Reduced solar activity also leads to the cooling of Earth’s upper atmosphere and if Earth’s upper atmosphere is cooler then there is less drag up there on satellites and this means we are left with much more debris up there - which is also something astronauts have to look out for."
Some researchers have attempted to link the intensity of cosmic rays at Earth to cloudiness and climate change. Current conditions may be a good opportunity to test these ideas further.
“Cloudiness & climate change” meaning cooling, possibly a Little Ice Age. Buy your parkas now.